Women were found to lose significantly more knee cartilage than men in an Australian study of subjects with no clinical evidence of knee osteoarthritis. When adjusted for age, height, weight, and baseline bone area, magnetic resonance imaging data indicated women lost four times more tibial, and three times more patellar cartilage. All subjects in this small study were caucasian and results might vary according to ethnic and racial differences. Estrogen increases cartilage volume, but investigators did not control for hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The women in this study averaged 149 pounds, which could account for part of these differences. Nonetheless, this study may help explain why more women develop osteoarthritis than men.
PositiveTip: Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight are proven methods of lowering your risk of osteoarthritis–and can help control the pain if you already have it.